It Takes a Village…One Leader’s Journey of Developing Confidence Through Enhanced Team Building

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Amber J. Pyatt, DNP
School of Nursing, Missouri Baptist University, St. Louis, MO, USA
Laura C. Dzurec, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, ANEF, FAAN
School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA, USA
Denise K. Gormley, PhD, MSN
College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA

The growth of personal confidence can be difficult for novice faculty as they transition into leadership roles. The 20-month long journey through Sigma Theta Tau’s Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy provided opportunities for the author to build self-confidence as she realized that, indeed, it takes a village to develop confidence as a leader.

The Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA) is designed to foster personal leadership development and career success for novice faculty, those with five or fewer years of teaching experience. Scholars create individual leadership development plans as they implement team-based leadership projects and expand the scopes of their personal influence in academic nursing. Academy participation involves attendance at two immersion leadership development workshops, two in-person site visits, and monthly scholarly community conference calls. Scholars hail from around the globe. Each Scholar works with a triad—his or herself, a mentor, and a faculty adviser—engaging in NFLA activities over the course of 20 months to cultivate leadership skills. The work of the Scholar strengthens not only personal growth, but also contributes to the strengthened character of the academic workplace. Through the team-leadership project and personal leadership growth, the Scholar actively engages others in the workplace to broadly encourage high quality performance among peers.

As a newly minted DNP graduate assuming leadership positions sequentially in two, Midwest nursing programs, the author learned first-hand lessons about the relevance of combined leadership and teamwork to the successful management of personal and organizational change. For this author, the most salient outcome of the NFLA experience was the development of confidence. Through reflection and discussion with NFLA triad members, the Scholar transformed her leadership acumen, practicing leadership skills and reflecting on personal leadership attributes. Her personal insights grew as she shared successes and obstacles with the faculty advisor and leadership mentor along the way. The Scholar engaged the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). “Modeling the Way” the leader clarified and then demonstrated personal values. As she did so, she “Shared an Inspired Vision,” working collaboratively with members of the University and community to establish a pre-licensure bachelor of science in nursing program. Through the process, she found that she was “Encouraging the Heart,” not only for herself, but also for others, as she simultaneously navigated the obstacles and successes of establishing a new education program and building her own level of confidence.